Scotland business

Scottish unemployment rises by 9,000

Woman entering a job centre Image copyright Getty Images

The number of people out of work in Scotland rose by 9,000 to 113,000 in the three months to August.

The Scottish unemployment rate was 0.3% higher than the previous quarter and now stands at 4.1%.

The UK jobless total fell by 52,000 over the same period to 1.4 million, or 4.3%.

The number of people in work in Scotland rose by 40,000 to a near-record high, with the employment rate hitting 75.3%.

The UK rate was 75.1%.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics also showed that total earnings, including bonuses, rose by an annual 2.2% in the three-month period.

However, pay still failed to keep pace with inflation, with the real value of earnings down 0.3% over the past year.

The Scottish government described the latest employment figures as "encouraging", highlighting that Scotland had higher employment and lower unemployment rates than the UK.

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Scotland's Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn said: "Youth unemployment rates continue to outperform the UK. This comes on top of us fulfilling our commitment to reduce youth unemployment by 40%, four years ahead of schedule.

"While these figures are positive we recognise there are still many barriers to getting people into work and are continuing to work to improve labour market conditions.

"We are expanding the range of opportunities available to young people through our apprenticeship programme and recently announced £96m of investment to deliver fairer employment support services through the new Fair Start Scotland programme."

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: "It is encouraging to see an increase in employment, which remains close to record levels.

"But the rise in unemployment is disappointing and shows we must remain focused on boosting Scotland's economy.

"Growth in Scotland lags behinds the rest of the UK and I'd urge the Scottish government to use their considerable economic levers more effectively."

'Robust' employment

Stuart McIntyre, from the Fraser of Allander economic research institute, said the latest figures showed "robust" employment in the three months to August.

He said: "These data represent some good news for the Scottish economy with continued growth in the employment rate.

"Nevertheless, the relatively fragile economic growth experienced over the past two years in Scotland remains a concern, as do wider indicators of the health of the economy.

"In addition, with inflation spiking to 3% and weak wage growth, there will continue to be a drag on household consumption going forward."

Scottish Chambers of Commerce chief executive Liz Cameron said: "With inflation continuing to rise, and many industry sectors observing pay growth below 2%, the Bank of England must hold their nerve on interest rates.

"An increase at this point would damage consumer confidence and spending at a critical period for the retail sector."

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